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New Plymouth to Become World Centre for Len Lye

New Plymouth to Become World Centre for Len Lye

New Plymouth’s relationship with world-renown artist Len Lye is about to enter the international arena.

Tonight (TUES DEC 16) the New Plymouth District Council agreed to a programme that will establish New Plymouth District as the international home of Len Lye.

The council will also be considering an annual budget of $87,000 to care for its extensive collection of Lye works, as part of the 2004/05 Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP).

General manager customer services Barbara McKerrow says the council’s consideration of how best to care for the collection, and its intention to make the collection permanently available to the public, has come at an opportune time.

“Len Lye’s fame internationally as an innovative artist and film maker has never been higher, and the Lye collection in New Plymouth is immense.

“This is all happening at a time when our collection of artworks is viewed enviously by other cities in New Zealand, as well as great art institutions in other countries.

“The council has asked its Len Lye Working Party to develop a proposal for a Len Lye Centre which provides permanent access to the collection in New Plymouth, and also a funding partnerships proposal which would identify the sources of capital funds for such a project.”

The New Plymouth collection of Len Lye works entails seven working kinetics, 16 unassembled kinetics (which have never been publicly displayed), 1000 archival documents, 43 tape recordings, four batiks, 13 book covers, 18 large-scale drawings, 22 paintings, 30 photograms, 300 miscellaneous studio items, 2000 slides and five sculptures.

This collection is at risk because of its age and deterioration of the mechanical works, and requires a comprehensive conservation and management plan to be implemented, says Mrs McKerrow.

The council’s strategy is for New Plymouth to be the world centre for the care, display, research and development of the works and ideas of Len Lye, an extraordinary thinker and visionary artist.

more... This will be done in four ways: Strengthening the partnership between the council and the Len Lye Foundation. Fully conserving and caring for the collection to international standards. Considering the establishment of a Len Lye Centre which provides permanent access to Len Lye’s work and ideas. The council and the foundation continuing to develop the legacy of Len Lye, realising and advancing his vision.

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